Not so much a circle…
We talk a lot about circles. Holding ritual circles. Creating a sacred circle. Building a power circle. And different Pagan paths have their own ideas on how circles should be created, crossed, and taken down.
Circles serve one of three purposes. They are either built to keep things in, to keep things out, or both. Going back to 101 basics, for those who are still learning, circles built to contain are generally used when doing energy raising for spellcasting or healing. Circles built to keep out are used when doing work that may attract unwanted energies. And those which do both, well that’s pretty self-explanatory, you may be doing energy work that you want to contain while at the same time you want to keep out any unwanted energies.
Through teachers and personal experience I have developed my own ways of working within circles. More often than not, when I am working alone I don’t create a circle at all. And until now I couldn’t have told you why that is. I just knew intuitively that it wasn’t needed.
Each of us has a circle around us at all times. We may call them shields or boundaries, but really they’re just permanent circles. We don’t cut doorways in order to move about. Reach out with an arm, and the circle expands outwards. Our circle travels with us where ever we go.
My personal circle isn’t a circle though. When I think of a personal circle, I see in my mind a hula hoop, orbiting my waist. No, my circle is not a circle, it is more an oddly shaped sphere. When I move an arm, the circle expands outwards to keep my arm covered. When I walk around, my circle stays right there with me. Dodge left or right, yup. Still with me. Because my shield is always present around me, I have found that I don’t need to go through a specific process to create a circle when I am doing spellcasting or following my personal spiritual practices. I may re-enforce my shielding, but I don’t rebuild it from scratch.
If I am with people that I am very close to, such as my children and a few very good friends, my personal circle will expand to enclose all of us together.
If I am in a crowd or amongst people I don’t know or trust well, my personal circle will shrink down so that only I can be within it.
Larger circles are needed to contain larger groups, so at those times I will create a purpose-built circle, one that again is not so much a circle as a sphere. It encloses all who are within it, but also moves and expands as needed and gently enfolds any who may come to join the circle.
So, the next time you create a circle, spend some time actually feeling it and playing within it. See where it is, and what you can do with it. Is it firm and unmoving, or flowing and flexible? Can it do the work you are intending it for? If your intention is to contain energy in order to raise it, is that energy contained? If your intention is to keep out unwanted energies, are they kept out? Either way, how do you know?
Can you feel a difference between personal circles and group circles? How do group circles change depending upon who is within that circle?
Above all else, circles are not passive, they are created and influenced by every person within that circle.